This type of coffee is famous and probably the most-talked around both the locals and tourists. Kopi is the Indonesian word for “coffee” and Luwak is the local name for a civet feline who eats raw red coffee berries as part of its diet. This coffee is prepared from the faeces of the Luwak. The fermentation process of the Luwak would give the coffee a special taste. This caviar among the coffees is one of the most expensive coffees in the world because of its unique production process. The Luwak eats ripe coffee berries, and in the body, through the digestion system the berries come out as whole coffee beans.
Luwak’s love the pulp of coffee berries and eat the berries as soon as they are ripe. During the digestion process, only the pulp is digested, which means that the beans come out flavoured in the faeces during the defecation process. In the past, coffee pickers were not allowed to bring coffee berries with them for private use. To still get their coffee, they took their coffee beans from the faeces of the Luwak. They let these beans dry for about a week before washing, roasting, and making them into Luwak coffee.
Kopi Luwak is an expensive coffee because there is more demand than supply. It is difficult to find and collect the faeces of the Luwak, so only a small amount of Kopi Luwak beans are collected per year. Because there is so little supply, there are nowadays also plantations with Luwaks in captivity to be able to produce and collect more coffee beans. However, you can question the animal welfare of these Luwaks in combination with this form of production. Despite the extra plantations, the demand remains many times greater than the supply, so it’s still an expensive product.
Against almost everyone’s expectations, the coffee beans smell sweet and fresh. The taste is generally a combination of sweet, soft, and fresh and is described as; earthy, syrupy, mossy, soft and rich. However, not all Kopi Luwak tastes the same. Factors of these small taste differences between the coffees are the kind of berries that the Luwak has eaten, and it differs per Luwak what taste it imparts to the bean.
Where to find
Several places in Bali serve Kopi Luwak. One of them is Satu Satu café in Canggu. This café gets its coffee from the family farm in Plaga where they produce their beans from cage-free Luwak’s. If you’re less concerned about where the coffee beans come from, you can get the coffee in almost any café or souvenir shop in Bali. However, you are not sure what the animal welfare of the Luwak is and there is a big chance that the coffee is fake. More than 80% of all coffee sold as Kopi Luwak in Bali seems to be fake. In addition to a few authentic cafes that reveal the origin of their Luwak beans, there are also many Kopi Luwak tours. On these tours, you will almost always find the real deal, the real Kopi Luwak.